Virtual desktop infrastructure has the potential to save companies money. Conversely, one of the biggest complaints about VDI is that it is expensive to implement and manage over time. Your company’s experience will depend on its suitability for VDI in the first place, but also on your IT staff’s ability to effectively leverage the technology. Here are five tips for cutting costs from your VDI implementation.
1. Determine potential ROI: For some organizations, VDI will be more expensive than the traditional end-user computing model. To make sure that VDI will pay off, consider a number of factors, including the cost of:
- Sufficient data center storage: With traditional desktop systems, storage resides on the device itself. With VDI, storage is centralized. Companies need to make sure they have a storage system in place that will provide enough capacity and performance to ensure a smooth, lag-free experience for employees.
- Virtual workloads: The IT department will need to spend time setting up applications as virtualized workloads.
- Endpoint computing devices: Companies need to determine whether existing hardware will work in a VDI environment or if IT will know to buy hardware. VDI centralizes much of the administration workload, but not all, depending on the type and age of the endpoints in use.
- Training of employees and support staff: Today’s VDI platforms are relatively easy to use and manage, but employees will still need upfront training on working in a VDI environment—especially in terms of what to expect.
Perform calculations for both short-term and long-term ROI. Most VDI vendors offer VDI calculators; if you use one, be sure to consider factors that are unique to your industry and/or your company. For example, healthcare and finance organizations will need to figure in any costs relating to compliance.
2. Use open source software to cut licensing costs: One of the biggest costs related to VDI is licensing of operating systems and productivity applications. One way to cut or even eliminate licensing costs is to go the free open source route whenever possible.
3. Optimize storage infrastructure: When planning a VDI implementation, conduct a survey designed to determine the applications and services being used by each employee, and how much storage these jobs require. Even if you will not need additional storage systems to run VDI, look for ways to optimize your storage infrastructure. For example, data deduplication—or, eliminating redundant data--can significantly reduce the amount of storage that an organization must provision for VDI. Organizations should also plan to segregate physical from virtual loads on storage systems, enabling more efficient storage performance for each. If you need additional storage capacity, public or private cloud-based storage might be the most cost-effective bet.
4. Take advantage of performance monitoring tools: VDI has come a long way from the days when it had a reputation for being slow and inflexible, but there are bound to be performance issues—especially at the beginning. You can head off complaints (and support costs) by using a performance monitoring tool that quantitatively measures performance of the VDI system, enabling you to quickly identify and deal with any issues that do arise.
5. Consider hyper-converged infrastructure systems: VDI takes a heavy toll on the data center. Hyper-converged infrastructure can help alleviate the load and save money by enabling you to reduce management and support costs through the merging of servers, storage and network infrastructure. HCI has been shown to lower maintenance costs, reduce IT staff costs, and reduce power and cooling costs, according to the 2015 State of Hyperconverged Infrastructure Market Report. The survey reports that 31% of companies are realizing cost savings from HCI. The use of converged infrastructure will also make it easier to scale data center resources when the need arises, reducing the need to buy additional hardware.
Underwritten by HPE, NVIDIA and VMware